Sunday, July 3, 2011

Unnatural Exposure - Book Review

STORYLINE:  Virginia’s chief Medical Examiner, Doctor Scarpetta is faced with the seeming return of a killer who dismembers victims with the precision of an expert.  A new victim turns up in a landfill and Scarpetta is summoned to the scene. Either a serial killer is back in business after an eight-year lay-off or a copy cat is on the loose. Deadoc, the elusive perpetrator, contacts Scarpetta via the internet. That’s bad enough, but add a deadly virus and  Scarpetta has to race against the clock to contain what could prove a disastrous outbreak.

Dr. Kay Scarpetta – A dedicated medical examiner, who goes above and beyond the call of duty.

Captain Pete Marino- : Commander of Richmond’s police homicide squad, who is devoted to his work and Dr. Scarpetta.

Benton Wesley: FBI Profiler and Dr. Scarpetta’s lover.

I LIKED: seeing the humane side to Dr. ScarpettaShe went out of her way to ensure that an innocent man was not only released, but while he was jailed, she visited his elderly mother and saw to her needs. Scarpetta was also clearly affected by the illness and subsequent death of one of her workers.   It was also interesting to watch her move from mourning the loss of an old love and accept that Benton Wesley is the present and possibly the future.

Through Scarpetta’s interaction with her niece, Lucy (a computer techie who works for the FBI) I also got personal glimpses into their family life.

I COULD HAVE LIVED WITHOUT:  the feeling that the team of investigators was going around in circles way behind the person behind the release of a harmful mutation of the smallpox virus. I also felt a bit of a letdown when I discovered the identity of the killer. The effect was that of seeing a petulant child misbehaving because of being slighted, rather than a truly evil person with a grudge against society. Not to say she didn’t have a right to feel the way she did, but harbouring a grudge for so long and then turning it on innocent people made me pity, rather than hate her.

OVERALL COMMENTS:  UnnaturalExposure was a fairly quick read. As mentioned, I saw a side to Dr. Scarpetta that I admire. The crime scene and medical data was interesting, however, I didn’t make the connection that Scarpetta suddenly did when she worked out the identity of the killer.  Other than Scarpetta tying the mastermind to an accident at a particular lab at the time the person said they weren’t employed there, the crime was solved on a hunch. The person in question almost readily admitted their guilt, which was unexpected.

Perhaps my disappointment also had to do with the fact that the ending seemed kinda tame. I’ve fed myself too much on a diet of chase and battle between good and evil.  UnnaturalExposure had the obligatory confrontation, but there was no chasing the ‘bad guy’. She confessed – sniveling while she was at it – and got a much deserved dose of her own medicine.

SOURCE: I borrowed Unnatural Exposure from the library.

RATING: Unnatural Exposure was just shy of awesome.


  1. Enjoyed the review of Unnatural Exposure, J.L. Sounds good.

  2. Patricia Cornwell is a writer I always enjoy reading.


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